1 ... 6 7 8
NickD Dork
6/25/16 11:27 a.m.

So, wake up Saturday and it's 90 and cloudless, just like the day before. Go out and grab some awesome pancakes at a diner, then head to the track and stand in line an hour to get in the front gate. Then competition kicks off. At this point you will notice these photos are from Wrecked Magazine, as my camera sucks for action photos.

Was hoping to see Dai Yoshihara start winning again, the man has been out of the limelight for a while. He got a bye run as a result of Mad Mike not qualifying.

But then got dispatched in Top 16 by Dean Kearney from Ireland in the supercharged Oracle Lighting/Achilles Radial Viper. People sleep on Dean but he can hustle that big Viper and has traditionally done well at NJ. Sadly, power steering failures would knock him out in Top 8 against Alex Heilbrunn.

Speaking of Heilbrunn, the rookie from Peru in his supercharged LSx V8 E46 went all the way to Final Four and would go toe-to-toe with former champion and current points leader Vaughn Gittin Jr., making them go One More Time before being dispatched.

Pat Mordaunt absolutely killed it in his chase run against Fredric Aasbo, defending champion and points leader going into the event, in his Rockstar Energy/Papadakis Racing/Scion Racing by Toyota Scion Tc. Then on his lead run he flubbed entry and pounded the wall.

After already knocking out Justin Pawlak and having been on a winning tear this season and last, everyone thought that Aasbo was poised to win this event. And then he came up against Vaughn Gittin Jr.'s Mustang. For a brand new car on a brand new chassis, this Mustang is a force to be reckoned with. Aasbo tends to be a very cool, conservative, calculating driver, letting his opponents make mistakes and lose. This didn't work against the sheer aggression of Vaughn Gittin in Top 8

Tyler McQuarrie in the Mobile 1 Camaro is also looking strong this season and went up against Forrest Wang and they got 2 One More Times, before Wang beat McQuarrie in Top 32.

Wang then controversially lost to Chris Forsberg in Top 8 in a decision that had the whole crowd booing. Won't go into details here, you can find the whole argument elsewhere, but it was not a great call. Either Wang should have lost against McQuarrie or Forsberg should have lost to Wang. No consistency on judging. And this incident was partially why Wang retired from FD after this event.

What happened to the other top qualifiers? Well Denofa blew the engine in his E46 before competition even started. He won the opening round this year and has the skill but he cannot keep his car together. And this comes after he got DQ'd last event over using adhesive to seal the beads on his tires.

Aurimas Bakchis, #2 qualifier and a driver who people think has the potential to win a championship, got a bye round in Top 32 as well, then got knocked out by 2013 champion Mike Essa in his turbo S50 E46 coupe.

Absolute best match up of the night was the Top 16 battle of Ken Gushi and Ryan Tuerck. These two have done battle a ton of times and I have a hard time choosing who to root for. Gushi's car looks amazing, he's a real nice guy and he has yet to win a championship, despite coming close. Tuerck's car has a gnarly fresh air anti-lag that sounds ludicrous, he's also a super cool guy and he too has potential to win a championship but has terrible luck.

In the end, Gushi went on to win, then dispatched Matt Field before losing to Chris Forsberg, landing him in 4th for the event and for the points chase.

In a real old-school matchup, both drivers have been around since day one of FD and are Hoonigan and Drift Alliance partners, Vaughn Gittin Jr's NASCAR-engine Monster Energy/Nitto Tire Mustang knocked out Chris Forsberg's NOS/Hankook VK56 370Z.

I left there at 7:30PM and cannonballed home, getting home at 12:30ish AM, grabbed 5 hours of sleep and then got ready for an autocross the next day.

NickD Dork
6/29/16 11:23 a.m.

So, the next day I wake up with a whole 4-5 hours of sleep, unpack the car and then see if my father is going. As part of Father's Day, our chapter was having a promotional where fathers got to enter for free, pretty good value. He said no, as it was supposed to be 90 degrees and cloudless and standing around on unshaded blacktop didn't seem that appealing to him. Can't say I blame him. Chugged a Red Bull and headed out to the Cayuga Community College parking lot for our first event this year, and our first cone course of the year. Cayuga is a really great venue because it's a really smooth lot (even the kart guys say it's smooth, so that tells you something) and site rental is $Free.99. The only downside to some, is that the far end of the lot is freshly paved and traction (for some) is non-existent down there.

I was curious to see if our attendance numbers would be because of Father's Day or in spite of it. Well, we got a number of people taking advantage of the promo and we had 46 entrants, 17 of which were novices, so I think we did alright.

Also, this was our first event with our new timing trailer, as our big old Chevy can from the '70s had called it quits at the end of last season due to terminal rust. You can also see the Mustang provided by our new sponsor, Burdick Ford, replacing Burdick Scion from previous years. RIP Scion.

Course layout was excellent, with a long optional-direction slalom down the front, a 35 foot circle on the sealed end that you had to go counter-clockwise around (Kept speeds down on the fresh paved area) then a number of transitions and straights down the back where you could get some speed. And it was 2 laps. Run time was about 60-80 seconds, with higher average speeds than Cherry Valley (Although peak speeds were lower). Only downside was the design made us have to stagger starts really far apart, which meant we got less runs than planned. 3 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon, instead of the planned 4/4.

NickD Dork
6/29/16 1:31 p.m.

I was in the second run group, which was good, as it gave run group 1 time to lay down some rubber and get the sand off the lot. Still, I took my time on the first lap and ran a conservative lap to learn the course and to see how the car was going to drive with the rear sway bar removed, as well as to see how bad the end of the lot was. Everyone in Run Group 1 had been complaining about the lack of traction down there, so I was curious to see just how bad it was. I didn't have a problem, which meant either my car was fine with the conditions, or I wasn't pushing hard enough. My first run was a 76.433, but I had no clue where that fell though. Car felt good, track layout felt great and I knew I could push it harder.

Second run I go out, get on it a little harder out of the exit chute and push harder through the slalom and manage a 72.700. Seems a little better but there are cars in the mid-60s, so I'm not going to settle for that. I was surprised to hear that at this point I was a solid 3 seconds ahead of Ted's STS Miata, as he usually leads me by 4 or 5 seconds. I was also 4 seconds ahead of Paul Grover's STR NC Miata at this point.

Third run, I'm getting really confident and pick up more time through the slalom and manage a 70.101. 60s are so close I can taste it. But that's the end of the morning run group. So I just hope that whatever I was doing, I can keep doing it after lunch and Run Group 1.

Talk to Ted during lunch and find out that even though he picked it up on his 3rd run, I'm still 3 seconds ahead of him. He also comments on how slippery it is on the back end of the course where the circle is. Really? I hadn't noticed. It pushed a little at the very edge but other than that was planted. Hear the same comment from others

After lunch, I only had 2 runs, so I didn't waste time easing back into things. Ran a very aggressive run, almost flat-out through the slalom, but it felt very sloppy, some rough transitions, and like there was time to be made. Then see the clocks and see that I cracked off a 69.243. Wow. Okay. There's time to be made out there.

For final run of the day, I go out and push it harder. Run feels better overall than the last run, but I nail a cone the second time through the slalom and even without it I only managed a 69.299. Weird.

Overall, I finished 2nd in class (more about that next post) and 33 out of 46 on PAX. I was faster than Ted's Miata by 4 seconds and Paul's NC Miata by 5 seconds though, so at least I was the fastest Miata by a strong margin.

The car did feel much better though. I've struggled with the new suspension ever since I installed it, the back end has felt very skittish and not very confidence-inspiring. I had a hard time telling when it was going to break loose and it seemed to break loose much easier. With the sway bar off the back, I could always tell what it was going to do and I was able to push it much harder through the slalom. SO, I think that will be staying off the car.

Strangely, this was the only photo posted of my car, winding it out as I head into the slalom. I need to contact Mark and see if he has any additional photographs he didn't post to the chapter photo gallery and if he wouldn't mind sending me them.

NickD Dork
7/18/16 6:23 a.m.

Winning the event overall was Melvin Modlin, who was running XG/S in a 2015 GTI, with a screaming 60.736.

 photo SCCA11_zpsdekavdhu.jpg

In 3rd overall was Mike Wilson with his XC/S '14 FR-S. Mike is a pretty fearsome driver, but he only shows up to our events at CCC, because of a string of bad experiences at Cherry Valley.

 photo SCCA13_zpshzevjjtb.jpg

No, this is not the same car, although you may mistake them at first glance. This is Josh Herbert's FR-S that was running C/SP. He actually wanted to run STX but forgot to remove his front splitter. He ran a 66.105, putting me soundly in second.

 photo SCCA1_zpsc2oftkfk.jpg

In CAM-T we had Steve Marshall and his 454-thrusted 1972 Chevelle. With very careful throttle modulation, he ran a 68.194

 photo SCCA12_zpsqa9qzrh7.jpg

Mike Marchetta brought out his S4 to play again and won B/S and got 5th overall with a 52.533. His first time on a cone course, he struggled a bit more than at Cherry Valley and had a couple spins and by the end of the day his tires were dead.

 photo SCCA4_zpsmo2iewzb.jpg

Simon Robinson made his first appearance this season in his 5th-gen Accord, now porting a turbocharger on the F22. Unfortunately, he was hampered by a slipping clutch and a crude tune, but it was pretty fast when in boost and the clutch held. He won SMF just by virtue of showing up, but ran a 67.853

 photo SCCA5_zpsjxzmvld5.jpg

 photo SCCA2_zpsqaxl1ycx.jpg

Despite fresh tires, Mark Mangicaro couldn't run down the B/S S4 and finished outside the Top 10 overall, a rare occurrence for Mark.

 photo SCCA3_zps12bd5tz9.jpg

We actually had 2 Cobra kit cars running with us. th silver car has a 408, and was much faster than the one in primer, which had a near-stock 302.

 photo SCCA14_zpsgqlkqyty.jpg

 photo SCCA9_zpsrbz4rxsf.jpg

Josh Fowler, in the Mad Maxima, took STS by a resounding 7 second lead over Ted and his Miata.

 photo SCCA6_zpsoa1ed61x.jpg

 photo SCCA10_zpsf9axmvr8.jpg

Randy Humphrey's looked very strong in his 2016 Mustang GT, managing 5th overall.

 photo SCCA15_zps2x9x7ffc.jpg

NickD Dork
7/18/16 7:52 a.m.

Saturday the 9th was our next event and we were back at CCC again.. The forecast said it was supposed to rain all day but that never materialized until we were already picking up, but it was still enough to scare some people off. As a result, we only had 23 cars present for the event, and with a course that was only 30-40 seconds long, we got a ton of runs, 16 to be precise. The course layout was fairly simple but verrrrry fast. Down the front end I was bumping the limiter in 2nd gear, which is good for almost 70mph.

The Miata was feeling great. After my success without the rear bar at the last event, I left it off for this race too, and the car just felt glued to the pavement. I had also rolled the front fenders a couple days before and I never once heard the tires rubbing, so looks like that problem is solved.

My first run was a 42.586 and they only got faster from there. I followed up with a 40.845, 40.522, 39.339, 39.212, and a 38.318 . Then after lunch I came back and fired off a 37.935, 38.855, 38.422, 36.937, 36.405 and a 36.248. We then got another group of 4 runs but it started raining after my first run so I parked it after a 37.511.

Overall I was very happy with the car's performance and how it held up over the day. With the low attendance and fast course, the cars were basically getting hot-lapped and a lot of people were having issues with tires and brakes getting too hot (And a 996 Turbo actually overheated and started spewing coolant everywhere) although the lifters were rattling pretty good by the 8th run of each run group. just another eason to get working on that new engine.

 photo SCCA30_zpsfmyyaa78.jpg

 photo SCCA29_zpsjwejzmle.jpg

Once again, I won C/SP just by virtue of showing up. There was another car preregistered to run the class but he never came. And I managed 17th overall thanks to C/SP's PAX. Still, I have a massive lead in my class ans in overall points I'm just outside the Top 10 at 14th out of 80.

NickD Dork
7/20/16 9:13 a.m.

Now for the other stuff.

For starters, there was the '91 Civic SiR in SMF. As soon as this car showed up, I predicted that it would be FTD. And I was not wrong.

 photo IMG_0294_zpspgat2f8e.jpg

 photo IMG_0292_zpsdp4kdbqi.jpg

 photo IMG_0290_zps2hnf9dik.jpg

 photo SCCA26_zps8jnnuw0m.jpg

 photo SCCA23_zpsgjorxgm7.jpg

With a ~230whp GS-R that was sporting header, cams and a positive-displacement supercharger, a Synchrotech-built GS-R transmission, Moton remote-reservoir coilovers, Wilwood front brakes, 275-series Hoosiers on Spinwerkes front wheels and 949 6ULs in the back. This thing was built to win and win it did, with a 30.549 that was almost 2 seconds over 2nd place. If I could have taken any car from this autocross home with me, it would have been this car.

 photo SCCA25_zpsl2vctlwh.jpg

Ted once again came in second in STS with a 38.027 to Josh Fowler and his Maxima's 35.363.

 photo SCCA22_zpsdytkubqj.jpg

Dennis Hesse brought out this '01 911 Turbo that ran a solid 35.819 but retired early when the hot-lapping that resulted from the short course and low attendance caused the car to overheat and puke coolant in grid.

 photo SCCA24_zpskdrotscx.jpg

Randy's new Mustang continues to look very strong out on course, running a 34.081 that put him in 6th place overall.

 photo SCCA27_zpsswoolgdk.jpg

Mike Catherman was out hustling some big muscle around in the form of his Challenger SRT-8 392. The hardest part according to him? Reeling in the Hemi's 475hp. His best was a 39.945, not bad for such a large car and having never autocrossed on a cone course before.

 photo SCCA28_zpslxa1r8ny.jpg

Lew Hylton showed up with a high-mileage '95 Miata for his first autocross ever. He had a hard time finding the course in the morning session but a ridealong by one of the pros helped him get it figured out.

NickD Dork
7/22/16 7:24 a.m.

At that autocross, someone mentioned that the Southern Tier Corvette Club was doing an event the next day over at Cherry Valley Motorsports Park, and I had nothing planned, so I decided to go racing the next day too. Except, I wake up in the morning and it's raining. Hard. Take a chance and head out and as I get closer to Lafayette, the rain starts letting up. Alright!

 photo IMG_0297_zpsq35vwonz.jpg

Some of the other cars present when I arrived. The orange 'Vette was a brand-new, temporary-tagged C7 Z06. Also there was John Breazzano (in his C7 Z51) and Leo Sawyer (in his Lotus 7 kit car) from the SCCA Chapter, so at least I had some people I knew that I could talk too.

 photo IMG_0295_zpstywarm41.jpg

Not everyday you see not one, but two C4s on slicks.

 photo IMG_0299_zpsxm205nrj.jpg

A gentleman from North Carolina (Who I guess happened to be in the area racing up at Watkins Glen) brought out this machine. It is a C7 Z07 that he bought specifically to go racing. As such it has a number of upgrades for the track including CCW wheels with 315/345-series slicks, front brake cooling ducts and harnesses. It was FTD and won the event. Later on, the guy offered rides in it and I went out for a 2-lap run, and the performance was absolutely face-melting.

 photo IMG_0300_zpsyl08lumn.jpg

 photo IMG_0302_zpsyyicfjpc.jpg

This '66 'Vette had been converted to a race car quite some time ago, and boy, was it a beauty. It had a 427ci small block propelling it to 2nd place overall, meaning the newest Corvette present and oldest Corvette present made up first and second.

As for me, wellllll, I got stuck running in the same class as Leo's Lotus, due to the STCCs weird classing, so I came in 2nd (and last) in Open Prepared. And due to the fact that I had the least amount of power and it rained literally every time I pulled to the starting line, I came in 2nd to last overall.

NickD Dork
7/23/16 12:57 p.m.

Before this event, I had decided that I really wanted to move away from the spindly little 1.6L rear differential and it's buzzy 4.30 gears and lame VLSD. And I decided that I really wanted to do it before the SCCA Enduro event (July 24th) because the VLSD was miserable at that event. You would get 1 lap in and it would just revert to an open diff because the fluid would get hot.

Unfortunately, Miata stuff is completely MIA in my area, so I wasn't going to find anything locally. So, I started searching around and found Expoline Automotive 5 hours north and hatched a plan, detailed here. Short version, run up in the Miata on the 16th, grab the full Torsen swap, jam it in over the week and go racing on the 24th. And it was a good plan right up until I murdered a finger at work on the 11th, breaking and macerating the end of it, and making me incapable of wrenching. But, I still decided to go grab it on the 16th.

So I unbolted the seat and threw some rubber mats down on the 15th, and then got up early the 16th and headed out into weather that looked like this:

 photo IMG_0303_zpstobkr91d.jpg

And proceeded to look like that for the next 2 hours, making me think I'm going to spend the whole trip driving through a rainstorm. Fortunately, it never materialized and after 2 hours it went to brutally sunny and hot. Instead, I hit Massachusetts traffic, which makes no sense.

For those who haven't experienced it, everyone gets on the highway and tears ass at 80mph for 10 miles and then slows to a crawl for the next 15 minutes for no discernible reason whatsoever. It's absolutely maddening, cost me an hour and a half of travel time and according to the locals "that's normal and we don't understand it either." Ooookay.

Arrive at Expoline 40 minutes late (thanks traffic) and meet the staff. For anyone who is interested in doing business, the price may be a little high but they're super friendly and knowledgeable. Hang out there and get the grand tour (Miatas and air-cooled Porsches EVERYWHERE) and receive my Torsen swap.

 photo IMG_0309_zpslujzoinl.jpg

The axles and 4.10 differential came out of a '96 with 60K miles and the driveshaft is from a '97 with 110K miles, so relatively lower mileage stuff. I paid $1000, which is likely a little high, but easier to get it all together and, like I said, this stuff is nonexistent locally.

Hilariously, as I'm getting the tour, the owner just happens to mention that they have a '90 in Mariner Blue coming in to get parted out that has a color-matched hardtop he'd be willing to sell. I look at him, laugh and say "I really don't need to hear that."

Then, while talking about the swap, he asks me why I am doing the swap and I said that I heard the 1.6L rearend is fragile and I have heard of people breaking it at stock power levels. He replies "Oh, yes, very fragile. You race?" to which I answer that I do and I launch at 4000rpm on 200TW tires. He stops, gives me a very grave look and says "You play with fire". Oh, whoops.

 photo IMG_0305_zpsidqpbkvn.jpg

This Mariner Blue 1990 was on the lot for sale with only 12K miles in all-original condition. I didn't ask the price, because I'm sure it was worth $12-15K if not more.

 photo IMG_0306_zpsalbfttbt.jpg

They were getting their 'Speed Miata autocross car prepped for the event at Fort Devens the next day, they too tried to get me to stay but I needed to get home. So, I left Expoline and headed to Sturbridge (got there half an hour late thanks to traffic) and met fellow GRM'er Wonko The Sane for some great BBQ and shot the breeze, then hit the road and got home.

 photo IMG_0315_zpsv5navoek.jpg

It now sits on my garage floor while my stupid finger heals up. I do have a set of poly diff mounts left over from when I put the poly bushings everywhere in the suspension that I intend to install before I swap differentials.

NickD Dork
7/23/16 1:19 p.m.

After not touching the car for the better part of a week, other than driving it, I decided to install my carbon fiber finish panel, that finally arrived a month later, because swapping finish panels should be easy, right?

 photo IMG_0311_zpsygdwt54y.jpg

Where my original one cracked.

Well, what should have been an easy job turned into a nightmare, because the CarbonMiata finish panel is kind of garbage. It looks nice but it is near impossible to install. The mounting tabs won't accept the stock plate-stud-things. Well, at least they provide hardware. Oh wait, it's trash and doesn't fit any of the openings and there is no way to hold the bolts while you tighten the nuts or vice versa. End up filing all the holes on the panel and grinding down the original Mazda hardware to make it fit. Plus, it doesn't use any of the plastic push pins that the original does, so you have to remove them and just stick them in the holes in the body or risk water leaks. Ugh, for the money and the companies reputation, I expected more from the product. Don't even get me started on the door handle bezels which I cannot use because the mounting holes aren't even at the right angle!

 photo IMG_0317_zpsztvphwpf.jpg

Shortly afterwards the car turned 130,000 miles.

 photo IMG_0323_zpsy7duxiqt.jpg

So I took some nice photos of it.

 photo IMG_0319_zpsn7ysk216.jpg

 photo IMG_0320_zpsk0tgwvg8.jpg

And then, to celebrate, the Sony Xplod head died for no apparent reason. Wonderful.

NickD Dork
8/13/16 11:40 a.m.

Wow, need to get caught up here. Okay, so July 16th was our SCCA Enduro event at Cherry Valley Motorsports Park. Instead of the usual 2 laps we do for our regular autocross, we instead do 5 laps. Less runs, but more consecutive runs, it's a pretty fun event. We had 31 entries, 13 of which were novices, so a pretty decent turn out for this event. This event in particular, and this track in general, seem to scare new people off. Mark Mangicaro was not there, so I have no photos of the event other than one of my car and a N A/SP Evo in grid.

I ended up running a best run of 182.458, which was 2 and a half seconds faster than last years best. Whoohoo, progress. There was more out there but I babied it too much on the first run and then on the last run, still didn't fully commit.

Here's where it gets a little frustrating. My run was good enough for mid-pack on raw but after PAX, I got banished to 27th out of 31. I even lost to a car I outran by 16 seconds (raw) by half a second (PAX). Thanks SCCA.

RedGT HalfDork
8/13/16 4:37 p.m.

In reply to NickD:

You can build for a class, or you can go and have fun. A fully built and well driven CSP Miata would have the fastest raw time at that event by a mile. PAX for CSP class is therefore pretty stiff. You are missing several seconds worth of power and r-comps relative to the theoretical best for your class. So PAX isn't relevant to you, just ignore it...or do your own calculation with STS or STR pax numbers to see where you stand since that is really the level your car is at.

Look at the results here for 8/7 for example. http://www.nepa-scca.com/SOLO2results_content.html CSP had top raw time and also top PAX time. Fully nationally prepped car. Thats what the numbers are derived for.

NickD Dork
8/14/16 7:58 a.m.

In reply to RedGT:

Oh, I know why it happens, it's still just kind of frustrating to me (and not just for me but the other guys running the Mod classes and Street Touring Classes) to see the people who spend the time and money building a cool car get banished to the back of the pack by the people who buy a grocery getter car and slap good tires on it. And smoking someone by 16 seconds and then losing to them in the official results will always be irritating.

Next year, my car should be a bit more closzer to what a C/SP car should be when I swap in a built BP-4W (Which I STILL haven't started on) and a put on some R-compounds (Which means I have to put a rollbar in too)

NickD Dork
8/14/16 8:33 a.m.

So, the weekend of July 23rd, I finally dove into my Torsen swap.

 photo Torsen Swap Axles_zpsjhnuxcxv.jpg

Ummm, are the axles supposed to do that?

 photo Torsen Swap Side by Side_zpschyqyxwc.jpg

In about 2 hours the old junk was out and sitting on the driveway.

 photo Torsen Swap Fire_zpsbpldbplx.jpg

I had some poly diff mount bushings laying around and decided to put them in the new diff. The one old bushing came out by collapsing the metal bushing in on itself with a chisel. The other one required a little more "persuasion"

 photo Torsen Swap bushings_zpsanoksaa4.jpg


Installed it the next day and it happened to be raining, so I got to take it for a test. The Torsen definitely takes a little getting used to. You throw it into a corner and you feel the back end shift a little back and forth as it hunts for traction. Interestingly, the 205/50R15s and 4.10s gave me the same effective gearing as the stock tires and 4.30s.

RedGT HalfDork
8/27/16 8:34 a.m.

That pocono event has registration open now. http://www.myautoevents.com/pls/mae/frmEventDetail.Show?psevent_id=16111

NickD Dork
8/27/16 5:36 p.m.
RedGT wrote: That pocono event has registration open now. http://www.myautoevents.com/pls/mae/frmEventDetail.Show?psevent_id=16111


NickD Dork
8/30/16 10:36 a.m.

In reply to RedGT:

Registered. See you there with my STS+ Miata.

RedGT HalfDork
8/30/16 11:31 a.m.

Sweet. I am in as well, kinda forgot until now. Practice your 3-2 downshifts!

FYI: Garage is kinda useless, don't bother. You'll spend all your time the other side of the site either working, running or eating/watching and there is ample parking (albeit on gravel) over there. If it rains, mooch off someone else to store your stuff, the garage spaces are huge anyway.

NickD Dork
9/26/16 8:56 a.m.

Alright, time to get this caught up, because I am waaaaaaaaaaaay behind on updates. Going all the way back to August 20th. Street Scene was holding their yearly car show and the CNY SCCA chapter got an invite to set up a booth and try to drum up participation. So, I volunteered to display my car and we ended up with this eclectic mix of vehicles.

 photo IMG_0390_zpsrhozotkk.jpg

From left to right they are, some Rallycross guy's Audi Sport Quattro, my Miata, Scott's CRG Road Rebel shifter kart, Mark Mangicaro's retired F/S E46 300Ci, Gerritt's Tom Celica and Garrison's rallycross Subaru. The kart and the Audi turned out to be the biggest draws.

 photo IMG_0391_zpscssqbu6a.jpg

A close-up of the Audi. This thing was bonkers

 photo IMG_0393_zpsegbvs3ym.jpg

Speaking of Audis, this slammed A8 was pretty sweet.

 photo IMG_0394_zps8zfujxul.jpg

It was also manual swapped.

 photo IMG_0396_zpsi7ps5aiv.jpg

 photo IMG_0397_zpsiljctw4c.jpg

This purple Challenger was packing some heat under the Shaker hood.

 photo IMG_0402_zpswm87ixub.jpg

Nice Subaru

 photo IMG_0398_zpsyyoqug29.jpg

Full Amuse aero on an S2000

 photo IMG_0407_zps5u5oofuz.jpg

 photo IMG_0408_zpsph0hgesr.jpg

Rotrex-blown BRZ

 photo IMG_0410_zpsv9gd79wc.jpg

Gnarly road race S2000

 photo IMG_0411_zpsnaudesfx.jpg

 photo IMG_0412_zpspthwd8ct.jpg

Cutlass with a turbocharged TPI 350. Interesting setup.

 photo IMG_0413_zpszp4kocka.jpg

 photo IMG_0414_zps4j7guvsg.jpg

FR-S with a positive-diplacement supercharger

 photo IMG_0417_zps7hoklowj.jpg

Saabaru with some STi upgrades

 photo IMG_0418_zpsvj2ctmh6.jpg

I believe this was Josh Herbert's FR-S. Not sure though.

 photo IMG_0420_zpsjlgkqoyh.jpg

2JZ-GTE powered SC300

 photo IMG_0421_zps3e5uy7wo.jpg

Mmmm, Lotus.

 photo IMG_0429_zps0p0rfiuh.jpg

 photo IMG_0430_zpsx5aoersk.jpg

Beautifully done H22-swap 5th-gen Accord

 photo IMG_0431_zpstr3644wd.jpg

What's a show without an NSX? This one had a CT supercharger too, I believe.

 photo IMG_0433_zpswpxxsvm1.jpg

Full Rocket Bunny-kitted 350Z

 photo IMG_0436_zpsfpkgepgj.jpg

 photo IMG_0437_zpserq8y7zp.jpg

They were doing a car limbo, so we lit off Scott's kart and tried to enter it. They let us go through but we weren't officially allowed to win. Still, very funny and great reactions from everyone.

RedGT HalfDork
9/26/16 3:29 p.m.

Man, people slap turbos and blowers on everything these days. Cool!

NickD Dork
9/26/16 3:41 p.m.

Yeah. I'm always shocked by the amount of boosted Frisbees I see. They are still a fairly new car and people are boosting them with impunity

NickD Dork
9/26/16 3:49 p.m.

So, August 21st we had another autocross back at the Fulton site. The weather forecast promised 100% rain, and it did not fail to deliver. We had cars throwing rooster tails taller than themselves and wakes that were knocking over cones (For those that were wondering, yes, that does count as a penalty. The rallycross guys clarified the ruling for us) We also only had 13 cars show up to race, so it was a very strange, informal event, with everyone carrying radios at all times and lots of banter over the radios. Because of the limited amount of attendees, we all got 20 runs, which was the most AXWare can track.

I came in 11th out of 13, with a 31.25 PAX, while Scott Newton in the Pro G/S Fiat Abarth 500 got FTD and overall win with a 27.690 PAX.

Event finishes and the sun comes out, it's early in the afternoon (because we only had 13 cars) so we decided to do fun runs. SO I got to test a few cars and let a few people in my car.

1) Scott's G/Street Abarth 500: I wanted to like this car, I really did. And it had just gotten PAX and FTD, so I expected great things. Only change on the car from stock was Dunlop ZII Star Specs. First thing, weird seating position, I've sat in trucks with a lower seating position. Clutch does not feel like the pedal is attached to anything. Shifter is very balky and vague (to be fair, Scott thinks there is something wrong with it, but the Fiat dealer says no) and I almost leave in 3rd. Botch my first run's launch and leave at 2500rpm and it's a doooooog. Doesn't hit boost until almost into the second chicane. Lots of understeer and I have no clue what the car is doing or what it wants me to do. Steering weights up very weird. At the big end sweeper it's understeer city, going way wide trying to find traction. I run several seconds slower than my best in my car. Take a second lap and get the launch right, that's fun, but overall felt very ugly. Fast FWD is no fun, I've determined, the cars never feel very happy. As for the Fiat, it just comes off as floppy and incommunicative. Disappointing too because I wanted to like it.

2) James' D/Street 2016 WRX: James bribed me to let him take my Miata out by letting me do a couple run in his 100% stock WRX. Now this, this I could get used to. Real nice car. Lots of grip, lots of power. It wanted to understeer a little at the far end but so did everything that wasn't RWD. Very easy car to get good on too, I'd never driven it before but it immediately felt like I'd driven this car a million times before, James even remarked on my near-instant proficiency with it. Don't care what people say about these WRXs, or Subarus in general, they are a fiiiiiiine car. I ran just about on par what I was running with my car, but it had taken 2nd in PAX and raw, so it had some serious potential. With real tires, I imagine it'd be a riot.

Then some of the guys wanted to take my car out

1)Scott (Abarth owner). I warn him to be careful at the far end and that the car does not have ABS. He forgets, overcooks it after the 200ft straight into the far end and goes waaay wide. Also breaks loos in the first segment of the back lane change. Comes through the exit chute backwards. He takes a second run and believes there is better time to be had on the far end. Doing the big sweeper he spins it around into a 180, not believing me that you just have to idle through there. Third run, he runs a clean run, remarking on how grippy and responsive the car is. Gets loose on the sweeper but doesn't lose it. Runs a second off my best time. His only complaint was there is not much of a line between slight drift and spin-out

2) James (WRX owner): James was real excited to drive the Miata because he has been looking at buying them. I gave him the usual "No ABS, take it easy at the far end" speech. As soon as we left the start line he was going on about how ridiculous this car was to drive, between the instant steering response and tons of grip. And then he put it into the fastest 180 degree spin I have ever experienced while I laughed hysterically in the passenger. On his second run he spun it down there again, this time stalling the car, and then lobbed it through the finish line in a crazy backwards spiral that had me in tears. He apologized profusely, which I waved off, and then gushed about how much he needed a Miata in his life

Gerritt (H/Street Celica drive): Gerritt was giving me E36 M3 about how my car had so much potential and a mediocre driver, so I offered to let him take it out and show what he could do. Knowing he's a very brute-force "Yank the wheel and stab the gas" driver, I knew what to expect. He did a spin that turned into a donut at the big end, then botched the slalom and shut it down. Still said it was a very cool, fun car.

Randy (F/Street 2016 Mustang GT driver): Randy was the only one to not spin. He ripped of a run that felt like a real scorcher, wish the clocks had been on. Afterwards he said the same thing as the others, very fun, very grippy until it lets go, and extremely responsive. He also said that if there aren't any major points implications at stake, he wants to co-drive it at the final event this season in the dry.

NickD Dork
9/27/16 3:55 p.m.

The next Saturday was another autocross, and this time I had a co-driver. After much coaxing, I finally convinced my father to come co-drive the Miata with me.

You can see my father in the passenger seat, who hilariously spouted out "I've never ridden in your car like this" on my first run.

Running solo, in this one.

My father driving it as 816 N C/SP. He did alright, but lacked aggression. I repeatedly informed him he could run the car flat-out through a lot of segments, but he never really stood on it. Due to his slower driving and C/SP PAX, he ended up second to last overall and last in Novice.

I wrapped up another C/SP win, having long ago cemented class victory, and got 23rd out of 28. A big problem was the tires. My Dunlops had just been heat-cycled too many times, and with two drivers driving back to back on a 90 degree day, they called it quits very early on and just had no traction. At this point I moved up to 11th overall in the points standings though.

Karl Hughes showed up after a long absence to shake down the new engine in the Chump Car E30, but a cooling system that wouldn't bleed ended his day early.

Aaron Bailey also missed this entire season but showed up to put his E46 to work.

Leo is not a fan of the cone lots but decided to bring his Lotus out because he had heard that more recent courses had been much faster

Davey Thai skipped a few of our events this year because his FR-S has been out track racing instead. Somewhere, it grew some aero and people told him that it belongs in SM, although I believe it's C/SP legal.

Cody Cunningham returned after a long absence with his Miata now sporting slicks and a turbo kit. The car ran like a top, finishing near the top of the field with no major issues.

Can't get over how competitive Randy's new Mustang GT has been this season, despite the awful stock tires, running 2nd in the points standings.

NickD Dork
10/12/16 2:10 p.m.

September 10th ended up being the last event for the CNY season, as we couldn't secure a site for any more events. We were back at Fulton and it was the Finger Lake Region's out of region event, so we had those guys hanging out with us. Unfortunately, for this event, my Dunlops were well and truly dead. Decent amount of tread left but they were hard as a rock and had no grip whatsoever. The car doing 20 near back to back laps in 90 degree weather likely was what finished them off. I ended up finishing 32 out of 35 PAX, and managed to get 11th overall for the season and won my class (mostly uncontested).

John Croasdaile took it for a run I forgot to mention it didn't have ABS. Hilarity ensued.

Sometimes you have to go through the finish line backwards. Me driving, by the way.

NickD Dork
10/22/16 10:20 a.m.

Really been dragging my heels on updating this thread and not sure why, so here we go, we are up to September 17th. I had registered for the Pocono Raceway autocross but my poor Dunlops were dead so I made the decision to get a new set of tires just for this event and ten take them off and store them until next season. ANd when you want street tires, there is no other option than some RE71Rs.

 photo IMG_0438_zpsyqedcx7m.jpg

I left Friday morning and headed down to Tobyhanna, PA where I rented a small "primitive" cabin for the weekend. It was cheap, it was fairly nice and I didn't plan on spending a whole lot of time at that cabin itself anyways

 photo IMG_0488_zpsysfgoh1y.jpg

The rest of Friday was a free day so I went to Steamtown National Historic site in Scranton, having last been here 17 years ago. Was surprised to see Reading T-1 #2124, a big homebrewed 4-8-4 Northern, sitting out front and looking operational, but it was actually just a static display. Despite being stylistically "wrong" engines, the T-1s are a favorite of mine. Supposedly sister #2102 is supposed to be returning to operation next year

 photo IMG_0439_zpsvedjrynn.jpg

Canadian Pacific #2317, a handsome Montreal Locomotive Works 4-6-2 PaCific built in '23, was one of Steamtown's big excursion engine, but was retired back in 2010 for FRA-mandated repairs and now sits in the roundhouse, with no future repairs planned, leaving the site without a large locomotive for long runs.

 photo IMG_0450_zpszythvuu8.jpg

Canadian National 3254, a class S-1-b 2-8-2 Mikado built in 1917, was Steamtown's other large excursion locomotive. Unfortunately this locomotive was also taken out of service for FRA-mandated teardown in 2012 and it just appears to be sitting there collecting dust.

 photo IMG_0451_zpsygdy7dhv.jpg

 photo IMG_0452_zps6dpjfmte.jpg

This is Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 565. It is one of the last surviving DL&W steam locomotives. Steamtown is based out of the old DL&W roundhouse, shops and yard, so this locomotive has particular significance to the site. It was undergoing restoration but legal issues and a bunch of parts getting stolen have placed it on the back burner and it has been moved from the locomotive shop, where restoration is performed, to the roundhouse, which is a display area.

 photo IMG_0449_zpse4wkq32h.jpg

Grand Trunk Western #6039 is just one of 17 surviving Grand Trunk steam locomotives and one of only 7 Grand Trunk road steam locomotives, a big 4-8-2 Mountain type built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1925. Unfortunately, while she is cosmetically restored and in a state of preservation, it reportedly has bad cylinder castings that keep it from being restored to operational condition, at least, not without significant cost

 photo IMG_0447_zpsdktzhfvw.jpg

Illinois Central #790 is the only known surviving Illinois Central 2-8-0 Mikado type, although it was actually built for the Chicago Union Transfer Railroad by American Locomotive Company and then later sold to and overhauled by Illinois Central in their Paducah shops. It sits outside, nicely cleaned up,a s a display that people can enter.

 photo IMG_0444_zps6rivbiky.jpg

Union Pacific 4012 is the only articulated locomotive present at Steamtown and happens to be one of the largest steam locomotives ever built, a massive 4-8-8-4 Big Boy that weighs 1,250,000 pounds. Considered by many to be the final word in steam locomotives, it is one of the 8 preserved engines. IT has to sit out in the yard because it is simply too large to fit on the turntable. Although a study found it to be in condition where returning it to operational condition was feasible, the sheer size and weight of the engine means that the trestles, culverts, switches and roadbed simply could not support it.

 photo IMG_0457_zpslbsxygtf.jpg

Canadian Pacific #47 is the last of it's kind remaining, one of Canadian Pacific's 4-6-4T Forney tank engines designed for Montreal commuter service, and sits outside in badly deteriorated shape, with no signs of preservation or repair. A few more years and it will likely be past the point of saving. A sad fate for such a rare locomotive that at one point was cosmetically restored and actually operational (Although it was immediately shut down because the boiler certifications were lost in a roundhouse fire and the ICC demanded a complete overhaul)

 photo IMG_0458_zpsaacf7tko.jpg

Brooks, Scanlon & Company #1 is also in extremely poor shape, to the point where the operator name isn't even legible on it anymore. There are parts missing and literally falling off the little engine.

 photo IMG_0459_zps7lqzgd7l.jpg

Canadian National #3377, a sister Mikado to the #3254, was cannibalized for parts years ago to keep now-retired #3254 running. Despite being listed as "preserved" it sits in a state of limbo, with it's front and rear trucks removed and it's tender now hitched to the #3254

 photo IMG_0469_zpstmrm5loa.jpg

Canadian Pacific #2929 is a pretty rare locomotive, a Candian "Royal Jubilee" semi-streamlined 4-4-4, that sits in poor condition. This place is honestly pretty depressing to attend, because there is so much rare history sitting outside rotting away and you know that it will never be fixed because the government doesn't have the money and the generation of people who built, repaired and operated this equipment is rapidly dying off.

 photo IMG_0485_zpspdyexjyt.jpg

The lone ray of hope is Baldwin Locomotive Works #26, fresh off a SIXTEEN YEAR overhaul and looking great. It is the only operational steam locomotive on site, but being a small 0-6-0 switcher, it is restricted to just a short trip to the outskirts of the yard. Hopefully it won't be alone for long, as the rumor is that Boston & Maine ##713, named "America's Locomotive" is supposedly returning to service after 50 years and will be operated on Steamtown, although the engine itself is under private ownership.

 photo IMG_0466_zpss0ebpq54.jpg

 photo IMG_0473_zpsukof09de.jpg

 photo IMG_0475_zpsjgrtbhza.jpg

 photo IMG_0482_zpsqd4c9thc.jpg

Thoroughly depressed, I returned to the cabin and got an early night's sleep for the next day's race activities.

1 ... 6 7 8
Our Preferred Partners